Now there’s a blog title I never thought I’d write. 😂
I wish someone had warned me about the absolute madness that is getting your driver’s licence, beforehand, lol.
At the end of 2019, I finally got my driver’s license – the culmination of what felt like an endless three years of toil. If you’ve ever gone through the whole process, then you know that the struggle is real. Unless, of course, you are part of the lucky group of people who get their license on the first try.
If you’re currently in the process of getting your driver’s license, I hope that this story gives you the hope and encouragement needed to keep at it till you get it!
I failed my learners test twice before passing it on the third try, and I failed my driving test three times before passing it on my fourth try. Here’s why I failed 3 times:
-I hit a pole while alley-docking during the yard test
-I drove over a pedestrian crossing without stopping to actually wait for pedestrians to cross the road, first
-After successfully finishing the yard test, before leaving the traffic department, I didn’t stop soon enough on the incline and my front wheel ended up touching the stop line
To say that I was discouraged every single time that I failed a test would be a massive understatement. I was fully convinced that I didn’t have it in me to do it. I’m glad that my parents had enough faith in me (and an ample amount of patience) to keep paying for lessons till I got it.
When it comes to your learner’s test, the only advice that I have for you is to know the K53 book inside-out. That’s it. If you can get your hands on practice papers and past tests, that’s awesome, but knowing the content through and through is what matters most. Aim to know most of each section. Failing one too many questions in a certain section results in a fail regardless of whether you get every single other question right. Know your rules of the road, road signs and motor vehicle controls.
When it comes to your driving test, pay close attention to other people who’ve taken the test in your area’s recommendations, as they actually often turn out best. Pay close attention to your instructor. If you feel like you’re going at a much slower pace than necessary, bring it up with your instructor or find a new driving school, because some teachers take advantage of how expensive lessons are and string you out for as long as possible.
I changed driving schools before getting my licence and it was the best decision I could have made.
My first ever driving teacher, Yolande, who taught me all the basics, was incredible though. She didn’t baby me, she challenged me in a way that ensured that I was always progressing. More than that, she became a mentor, a friend. I never got to share the joy of getting my licence with her, the way that I’d always dreamed that I would. She passed away unexpectedly and I never got to say goodbye, or thank you.
Driving lessons are outrageously expensive. To make the most out of your time and money, don’t buy single lessons and stick to buying lesson packages instead. Schedule your driving lessons as close together as possible. Too much time in between, especially when you’re learning to drive for the very first time, undoes all of your progress and is equivalent to starting over from scratch repeatedly. Don’t do it. Get as many additional hours in as you possibly can outside of your lessons. Drive to school, church, the supermarket, down the street, around the neighbourhood, to the mall. Go anywhere and everywhere that you can!! It all counts, it all adds up.
I am so very lucky to have had my mom be my teacher outside of my formal lessons. To be honest, the extra hours matter so much. I wouldn’t have gotten my license at all without all of the hours that my mom put it and dedicated to instructing me.
While doing your lessons, review your pre-tip inspection after each and every lesson. Aim to know it by heart to get it out of the way enough to be able to focus on what’s most important, the driving test itself.
When it comes to the test itself, try to be as relaxed as possible on the day of. Wear comfortable clothes.
Aim to do your test in the morning and don’t lick a test date that is too close to the holiday season when traffic is the most chaotic.
Practice the actual test route with your driving teacher as much as possible before your truest to familiarise yourself with exactly what to expect, it will exponentially boost your confidence.
Play it safe and do your test using the exact same car you’ve been doing your lessons in.
The yard test (parking) is the trickiest and when most things go wrong, so just know that once you make it past that stage, a licence is as good as yours.
Pick the testing centre closest to where you live. No matter what. People often go to middle-of-nowhere towns to do their tests, but then struggle to drive in proper traffic when they return home. You’d rather master the test route that is the actual city that you’re in because that’s where you’ll be driving after all!
That’s as much as I can remember! I wish that I’d written this a lot sooner when it was all still completely fresh in my mind but I hope that my words can still offer a little bit of insight into the driver’s license process.
If I can do it, anyoneeeee can. I promise. I had (and sometimes still have) a horrible amount of anxiety surrounding driving and the nagging fear of being in an accident, someone hitting me. But there isn’t really anything that doesn’t come with some kind of risk, is there? And I’ve been accident-freeso so far.
Stay safe and stay well! You can do this.